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April 2018
Spring Reading Month
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“Providing a great education takes a lot of different ingredients.”

TCAPS Families, Staff and Friends,

There is nothing more important to our school district than providing our students with an outstanding education in a safe, secure, and welcoming learning environment. Providing a great education takes a lot of different ingredients. It takes exceptional teachers, caring staff, well researched curriculum, technology to support classroom learning, safe buses to transport students, schools that facilitate 21st century learning, and an engaged group of parents. In fact, parent engagement is one of the most important ingredients to the success of our community’s schools.

One of the most impactful and easy ways to be engaged in your schools will happen on August 7, 2018. The district will have a bond proposal on the ballot. The proposal, if passed, would result in no increase to the millage rate (a continuation of the same rate of 3.1 mills as the last 20 years) and would fund a 10 year plan that would include safety and security upgrades, bus replacements, technology, upgrades to all facilities, and the reconstruction of the TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis building. The bond issue would provide funds that would allow the district to make necessary capital improvements over time, providing the facilities that house the tremendous staff who deliver the comprehensive, high quality educational programs that have become a standard for TCAPS.

Speaking of outstanding staff, in advance of Staff Appreciation Week, May 7th-11th, we would like to invite you to share your stories about how our dedicated staff make a difference in the life of your child. You can share your “thank yous” by emailing or by sending a private message to our TCAPS Facebook page. We will be compiling responses and sharing them throughout the week as a way to show our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our amazing staff. A little story goes a long way in brightening someone’s day. Thank you in advance for taking the time to recognize our wonderful staff.

Paul A. Soma, Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools



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Peer to Peer

Grand Traverse County Senior Center Network Seeks Tech Savvy Teens

The Grand Traverse County Senior Center Network is seeking tech savvy teens (16-18 yrs) to volunteer to help older adults with the finer points of their cell phones, tablets and laptops. The group would meet once a month in the late afternoon, early evening for up to 90 minutes. If you are interested in supporting this Partner In Education, please email for more details.

Trojan Hockey Supports Team in Need

Please join the TCC Varsity Hockey team this Thursday, April 19, at the East Bay Culvers for a fundraiser, led by Trojan hockey player and Culver's employee Owen Stolarczyk, benefiting the Humboldt Broncos. On April 6th, on their way to a playoff game, the Humboldt Broncos Jr 'A' Hockey Club team bus was involved in a catastrophic accident that killed 16 players and staff members and left another 13 hospitalized. This fundraiser will benefit the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation which is a fund set up to help relieve the final expenses for the deceased and the medical expenses of the survivors. The fundraiser will be based on sales made between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM. Come on out for dinner, dessert, or both!

Hockey Fundraiser

Join TCAPS Students to Clean Up the Downtown Beach—April 29th

Students from Traverse City West Middle School are cleaning up the beach for Earth Day and need your help. On Sunday, April 29, 2018, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the community is encouraged to help pick up trash around the Clinch Park beach and splash pad. Students will also be collecting donations for TART Trails.

Student Project Manager Eva Lawson says, “We all love spending time at the beach in the summer and want to make sure it’s clean and healthy. If a lot of us give a little time and effort we can make a big difference together in our community!”

This event is a hands-on learning project organized by 6th grade Academically Talented (AT) students at West Middle School as part of a lesson on philanthropy.

TBA Credit Union



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“All students showed amazing team sportsmanship and support for one another.”

Willow Hill Battle of the Books

The Willow Hill Elementary School Battle of the Books was held on Friday, April 13, 2018. Over 100 students in 4th/5th grades were divided into 14 teams and were tasked with reading six books. Each team participated in three battles of answering the most questions correctly, with the top teams facing off in the final battle. This year, the Mighty Book Matadors concluded the event as the overall winner. All students showed amazing team sportsmanship and support for one another. Teachers Mary Jane Collins and Erin Jongekrijg, and LMP Martha Topol are in their 3rd year of organizing this great event.

Battle of the Books

August 7, 2018 Bond: Did You Know?

Bond Proceeds Can Be Used For:
  • Construction of new school buildings & additions to existing buildings
  • Remodeling of school buildings
  • Energy conservation improvements
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Purchasing school buses
  • Purchasing land
  • Developing/improving sites
  • Developing/improving athletic & phys. ed. facilities
  • Purchasing loose furnishings & equipment
  • Purchasing technology (with certain limitations)

Bond Proceeds Cannot Be Used For:
  • Repairs, maintenance, or maintenance agreements
  • Supplies, salaries, service contracts, lease payments, installment purchase contracts
  • Automobiles, trucks, or vans
  • Portable classrooms purchased for temporary use
  • Uniforms
  • Textbooks
  • Upgrades to existing computer operating systems
  • Computer training, consulting or maintenance contracts

More information:


K-12 Art Gala

The 2nd Annual K-12 Arts Gala Opening Reception showcased incredible works of student art and included fun, interactive art activities. The display will be available to view at the Boardman Administration Building (412 Webster St.) through April 23rd.

Art Gala

Art Gala

Traverse Heights Elementary School to Host Innovation Day—April 20th

On Friday, April 20, 2018, Traverse Heights Elementary School will host an Innovation Day for students. Students will begin the day by checking-in with their homeroom teacher and eating breakfast, they will then transition to the gym to listen to the day’s keynote speaker. After the keynote, students will rotate through various breakout sessions of their choice, which will be led by school staff and community partners. A total of 24 activities that connect learning to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), careers, creativity, and innovation will be featured.  

Traverse City West Senior High School Theatre Presents “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Phantom Tollbooth”—April 20th and 21st

The Traverse City West Senior High School Theatre Department presents “The Phantom Tollbooth” and “Hansel and Gretel” April 20-21, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. (5376 N. Long Lake Rd.).

Hansel and Gretel are sent into the woods and meet a number of peculiar characters. A witch locks poor Hansel in a cage and feeds him nothing but cake! Everyone will cheer Gretel as she outwits the crone and sets free all the children who have been turned into cookies! Every dramatic moment is brought to life, from the night spent in the woods to the discovery of the candy-coated little cottage. Sweetened delightfully with music, all will enjoy the fun of songs like 'Gingerbread Witch' and 'Apple Muffin Goblins.'

The Phantom Tollbooth begins with a boy named Milo who doesn’t know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always. One day a mysterious tollbooth appears in Milo’s room and having nothing better to do, he drives his toy car through it. To his astonishment and increasing delight, he finds himself in a peculiar new world. Milo soon finds himself on an eventful and dangerous quest: he is tasked with rescuing the Princesses Rhyme and Reason, who, in the war between words and numbers, have been banished to the Castle in the Air. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students. Tickets are available at the door or may be purchased in advance at

Purchase your BBQ tickets now!

Traverse City Area Public Schools’ FIRST Robotics Teams Qualify for World Championship—April 25th-28th

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams representing Traverse City Central High School and Traverse City West Senior High School competed at the Michigan FRC State Championship at Saginaw Valley State University. Both teams qualified for the FRC World Championship, which will be held April 25-28, 2018, in Detroit, Mich. The state championship competition included 160 teams from across Michigan, with four divisions of 40 teams each. Teams participated in a number of rounds of intra- and inter- divisional matches before the final playoff match, which included winners from each division.

FIRST Robotics

Both teams are seeking donations to help pay the registration fee and travel expenses for the FRC World Championship. Interested donors are invited to visit: (designate “The Raptors Robotics” or “Titan Robotics” along with your donation).

East Middle School Student Documentary to be Featured Among “Best in Show” at the Michigan Student Film Festival—April 28th

Traverse City East Middle School’s student produced documentary “Predator & Prey” was selected among the “Best in Show” at the Digital Arts, Film & Television’s (DAFT’s) Michigan Student Film Festival. The documentary will be shown as part of the “Best in Show” reel at the Detroit Institute of Arts on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The Michigan Student Film Festival is celebrating its 50th year of providing a public venue for the work of students in grades K-12, as well as giving recognition and significant awards to young media artists. The festival is recognized by the American Film Institute as the longest-running K-12 student film festival in the nation. The festival is co-sponsored by The Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts and supported by generous sponsors throughout the state.

Safe Routes to School Walking Audits at Westwoods and Long Lake Elementary Schools—May 1st and 2nd

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, and Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) team will host a Walking and Biking Audit at Westwoods Elementary School and Long Lake Elementary School, respectively, to assess routes students use to walk and bike to school. SR2S is a national and state program to increase walking and biking to school along safe routes.

Community members, parents and students are encouraged to participate in the Walking and Biking Audit. The walking and/or biking portion of the audit will take approximately one hour. Snacks will be provided. The findings of the Walking and Biking Audits will be used to create a SR2S action plan to increase safety on routes students walk or bike to school.

Westwoods Elementary School: SR2S Walking/Biking Audit
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 3:45 p.m.
Meet in the school library

Long Lake Elementary School: SR2S Walking/Biking Audit
Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
Meet in the school library

Cinco de Mayo Fundraiser for Students

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, TCAPS Spanish students will host a Cinco de Mayo community dinner from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Traverse City Masonic Temple (13360 S. West Bay Shore Dr.). The event will feature a traditional Mexican meal, music, crafts, silent auction, games, prizes and more. The funds raised will be used to support TCAPS students studying Spanish who are participating in global service volunteer and language learning trips. Tickets are $10 per person. Kids 10 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased from a student traveler or at the door.

Cinco de Mayo

Staff Appreciation Week—May 7th-11th

Every member of the Traverse City Area Public Schools' staff plays an important role in helping our students reach their full potential. It takes a personal commitment to serving the unique needs of each individual student and caring professionals who are focused on advancing our students’ success. The product of the work performed by TCAPS staff is the greatest possible gift to the future, a prepared and productive next generation. Read the Board of Education Staff Appreciation Week Proclamation.

Learn more about College For Kids

Eastern Elementary & Old Mission Students Participate in Joint STEM Activities

As part of the transition from Old Mission Peninsula School to Eastern Elementary School, which will take place at the start of the 2018-2019 school year, students from both schools have been taking field trips to Central High School during the months of March and April to participate in STEM activity days. The activities have been facilitated by the Central High School Student Senate and SCI-MA-TECH program. The activities allow students to have the opportunity to participate in STEM activities, meet other students in their grade, and be mentored by high school students.

STEM Activities

Odyssey of the Mind Team Heading to World Competition—May 23rd-26th

Students from Central Grade School’s Odyssey of the Mind (OM) team are heading to the world competition in Ames, Iowa, May 23-26, 2018. OM is a problem-solving competition where students develop a skit about a selected problem. There are three levels of competition: Regionals, States, and Worlds. Central Grade School’s team won first place in the regional competition and then tied for second at the state competition, which qualified the team to compete at Worlds. The team chose Problem 3: Classics…Mockumentary! Seriously?, which asks students to tell two sides to a story in a humorous, documentary-style performance. The Central Grade School team based their skit on the classic Peter Pan and made their own backdrops, costumes, and developed their own script, all with no adult help. The cost of traveling to the world competition at Iowa State University for the team will be $7500 for lodging, food, and travel. Donations to support the team are currently being accepted here.

West Senior High School Student Selected to Attend MTU Women in Engineering Camp

Cinco de Mayo

Traverse City West Senior High School student, Gracie Noller, was accepted into Michigan Technological University’s (MTU’s) summer Women in Engineering (WIE) camp. Participants take part in engineering sessions, group projects, and special topic presentations with a diverse group of peers from all over the country and around the world. WIE provides a weeklong look at engineering careers in areas like mechanical, computer, environmental, electrical, chemical, biomedical, civil, geological, and materials. Through the program, students have the opportunity to:

  • Explore engineering by constructing a building strong enough to withstand an earthquake, create an artificial intelligence army, and much more.
  • Get inside information from role models working in engineering fields.
  • Work in teams to tackle awesome group projects.
  • Experience college life: stay in a residence hall, explore campus, and meet others with similar interests.
  • Enjoy team competitions, a variety show, and tons of outdoor activities in Michigan's beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.

The highly competitive scholarship program offers free tuition, room and board, and supplies to students accepted to attend. Gracie is a member of the Titan FIRST Robotics Team 3676 and Titan VEX Robotics Team 3676X, which is heading to the World Competition, April 25-28, 2018.

Kindergarten Roundup—Dates in April and May

TCAPS elementary schools will host kindergarten roundup in April and May to conduct health screening and assist families with completing the enrollment process. Please contact your school directly to schedule your child's round up appointment.

View Kindergarten Round-up dates and times.

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East Middle School Students Advance to National History Bee Finals—June 1st-3rd

Two Traverse City East Middle School students, Cole and Trey Harding, qualified for the National History Bee Finals. Cole and Trey competed at the State Regional Competition against students from Michigan Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. They took first in their rounds at the state/region level competition and are now preparing to compete at the National History Bee Competition in Atlanta, Ga., June 1-3, 2018.

West Senior High School Student to Attend Summer Science Program in Astrophysics

Traverse City West Senior High School student, Annaka Hansen, was accepted into the Summer Science Program in Astrophysics at the University of Colorado Boulder. The program provides an intensive, six-week enrichment program that is designed to challenge and inspire highly gifted high school students from around the world. Participants conduct authentic hands-on research from start to finish, working in teams of three. Each team takes a series of images of a near-earth asteroid, then uses those to calculate its orbit and predict its future position. The Summer Science Program is one of the longest-running pre-college programs in the country. Of the more than 1,100 students who applied to the program, less than 10% were accepted.

Annaka is currently enrolled in Astronomy 119 at Northwestern Michigan College, is an editor for the school newspaper, plays in the philharmonic orchestra, and writes a local column, Teen Talk, for Families First magazine.

View more information about the Summer Science Program.

Marjorie Rich Named Director of Teen Parent Program

Marjorie Rich has been named director of the new Teen Parent Program at Traverse City High School. Rich previously served as director of the program from 2012 to 2015, when it was sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center (WRC).

With support from community donors, the program was redesigned and transferred from the WRC to Traverse City Area Public Schools in January. The program is focused on helping teen parents complete their education by building a network of local services and engaging volunteer mentor moms. The program will be guided by a community advisory council.

“Marjie’s skills, experience and leadership will be invaluable to the success of the new Teen Parent Program. She is highly regarded in the community, within the school district and among the numerous agencies that provide services to teen mothers and their children,” said Lance Morgan, principal of Traverse City High School.

Rich will begin the director position on July 1, 2018. Becky Beauchamp will serve as interim director until July. With grant support from Rotary Charities, Beauchamp guided the program redesign and transition as a consultant with NorthSky Nonprofit Network. The initial three years of the program will be supported through grants from the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.

TCAPS Provides Breakfast Option at All Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools is pleased to offer breakfast options to all students. A healthy meal before the start of the school day helps fuel students' minds for learning.

Elementary School Prices
Student Breakfast – $1.50
Adult Breakfast – $2.35
Student Lunch – $2.70
Adult Lunch – $3.85
Milk Price – $.50

Middle and High School Prices
Student Breakfast – $1.75
Adult Breakfast – $2.35
Student Lunch – $3.00
Adult Lunch – $3.85
Milk Price – $.50

Every school has breakfast available in the cafeteria except Traverse Heights Elementary and Blair Elementary which have breakfast in the classroom. Breakfast is provided free of charge to all students attending Blair and Traverse Heights.



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Helping make the healthy choice the easy choice for our students.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Helps Students Make Healthy Meal Choices

The Fuel Up to Play 60 program has helped make Blair Elementary School’s cafeteria a bit brighter this school year. From new Blair blue paint on the walls, to fun posters, to colorful salad bar utensils, the grant-funded partnership is helping make the healthy choice the easy choice for our students.

Blair Elementary School Staff to be Recognized as Heroes at Big Little Hero Race – April 21st

The Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) Professional Communications students are partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan to host the fourth annual Big Little Hero Race on April 21, 2018, at NMC’s main campus. The costume-encouraged festivities begin at 9:00 a.m. with the free one-mile fun run, followed by the officially-timed 5K and 10K at 9:30 a.m.

Every year the Big Little Hero Race Team selects a local hero to honor. This year's race will celebrate the staff of Blair Elementary School for their commitment to their students and community as everyday heroes. They will be honored by starting the one-mile fun run and recognized at the award ceremony.

Register for the Big Little Hero Race

Lids for Kids Bike Helmet Giveaway Rolls into Traverse City – May 12th

On Saturday, May 12, 2018, children from the Traverse City area can stop by F&M Park from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., get fitted with a free bicycle helmet, learn bike safety tips and enjoy other family-friendly activities. The event is for children ages 4-12 and their families. The event emphasizes the importance of bike safety and gives children the most important tool in preventing brain injury while riding a bike: a properly fitted helmet. Trained volunteers will be on hand to custom-fit every helmet. Children must be present to receive a helmet. The event is sponsored by the Sinas Dramis Law Firm, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, and Agevix. In addition to getting fitted with a free helmet, children who attend can register to win a free bicycle from McLain Cycle & Fitness! View addtional Lids for Kids information.

Lids For Kids

Grand Traverse Senior Center Network Friend Jim DeLong Gives Back

Many thanks go out to Traverse City resident Jim DeLong who has donated more than 50 handmade pillows to TCAPS over the past few months. Jim’s greatest joy was “seeing the smiles on the students' faces” when they were given the pillows. View stories of Jim’s first delivery. Thank you, “Mr. Jim” for this heartfelt gift to our schools.

Jim DeLong

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Traverse City Area Public Schools
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